Posted on January 12, 2006 by Flames
Released in September 2005 to a North American audience, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children has been heralded as the stunning animé sequel to the Final Fantasy VII video game.
I have not played Final Fantasy VII, but I have played other games within the Final Fantasy series. Watching this animé was like sitting in the audience at a three-ring circus—visually stunning, amazing attention to detail—with little substance. The visual effects almost make you forget the horrible soundtrack; some of the fight scenes don’t even have music accompaniment.
The story for the film is mostly explained through Advent Children’s website, the dark fantasy themes were hard to follow. Emotionally, I felt very detached from these characters and could see that this was an exercise in resurrection—had I played the game I probably would have cheered when some of the characters made brief appearances. Instead, I kept asking who was who as one action scene twisted into another.
The animé focuses on Cloud Strife, a reluctant hero once tied up with a massive corporation called Shinra who abused an energy resource (mako) for power. Midgar, once a grand and vibrant center of prosperity, was reduced to ruins. In this animé, you’re introduced to a city rebuilding in the shadow of a threatening disease, called the Geostigma, that steals lives with its mark. Cloud is pulled into the problems of Midgar through his friend Tifa and her charges Marlene and Denzel. When Denzel is kidnapped, Cloud must once again take up his massive dual-sword to find a cure for Midgar’s children. Standing in Cloud’s way are three brothers led by Kadaj. They’re pretty typical of the Final Fantasy mythos; they want something and they’re going to do whatever they can to get it. The story is problematic; although there are depth-seeking themes (like the earth/human symbiotic relationship) these moments are extremely anticlimactic. By the end of this you don’t even care that the kids are cured.
What you do care about is the thrilling rollercoaster ride through Cloud’s inhuman battle feats, the speed of the motorcycle chase, and the visually-impressive depiction of Vincent Valentine—another one of Cloud’s mysterious allies. By far the best battle scene occurs toward the end between a revisited image of Sephiroth (a genetically-engineered monster courtesy of Shinra Corporation who hates humanity because of it) and Cloud. Other cameo moments (like using the Final Fantasy VII game music as a cell phone ringer) make you laugh.
Overall, I feel like I’ve missed the point of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children because I haven’t played the game. It is not a piece that can stand on its own, although it’s worth a viewing for the fight scenes.
Tags | historical-fantasy